Originally published in STC San Diego Chapter newsletter

Instructional Designer Follows Life Templates

By Lana Walker


What is in store next for Jeff F?

As a result of corporate downsizing, Jeff lost his job at DataQuick in July. Perhaps the Alaska cruise he is going on tomorrow holds the answer. His life almost eerily follows templates, just like those he’s created over the years as a technical writer and instructional designer.

Popcorn, get your popcorn here!

As a young child in Maryland, Jeff aspired to running a movie projector in a theater. Fast-forward to his life now. As a volunteer, Jeff plays movies and makes popcorn for residents at a Kearny Mesa convalescent center.

Also as a child, Jeff directed plays in his neighborhood. He loved to sing and he performed all through high school and college. Fast-forward to today. Jeff is a member of the Rancho Bernardo Troubadours, a barbershop choir in which he sings lead and has served as chairman and treasurer.

Award-winning template

Jeff studied history at the University of San Diego and got his teaching credential. He went on to receive a master’s degree in Educational Technology at San Diego State. While working on his master’s degree, Jeff taught computer technology at an elementary school in La Jolla. He was thrilled when one of his students won third place in a programming contest. This would portend the many awards Jeff would receive over the next several years.

In his last semester at State, Jeff was selected for a prestigious internship at AT&T in Cincinnati, Ohio. Not surprisingly, he won an award for his contributions in systems documentation and instructional design. After his internship, Jeff worked at Courseware in Scripps Ranch, where he wrote computer-based training programs for IBM systems. He also created templates that IBM used as a model.

After four demanding years, Jeff went on to Key Technologies to manage a documentation team. Two years later, right before Thanksgiving, he was laid off. It was a rough time as California moved into a recession.

Have a merry Christmas

Losing a job so close to Christmas is terrible timing. But we’re talking about templates for Jeff’s life. You’ll never guess who he became friends with — Hugh Martin, the composer of that famous song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Martin wrote many of the most memorable songs in theater and film and worked with the brightest stars of stage and screen.

Now in his 80s, Martin is writing his memoirs, and Jeff is helping him by taking notes when Martin reminisces and tells stories during visits.

Morphing career

After the Key Technologies layoff, Jeff went to ImageWare, then to General Instrument, then to Sionix, and finally to DataQuick. As a senior technical writer at DataQuick, his role expanded to include user education and designing user interfaces. Again, as the template directs, he won awards for his valuable contributions.

So, here we are now, watching with great anticipation as the next template of Jeff’s life unfolds. Alaska, here he comes!

Originally published in the STC San Diego Chapter Signature newsletter.

Jeff credits this profile for helping him land jobs. Also, in line with his life template, Jeff was honored to receive the STC Distinguished Chapter Service Award.